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Vadal Alexander inks $2.4M deal with Raiders, source says

Former LSU offensive lineman Vadal Alexander signed a four-year contract with the Oakland Raiders worth $2.4 million, including a signing bonus of $76,844, a source told The Advocate.

Vadal Alexander spent four years at LSU after attending an LSU camp as a child.

Vadal Alexander spent four years at LSU after attending an LSU camp as a child.

Alexander, a four-year starter at LSU and seventh-round draft pick earlier this month, will make an average of more than $600,000 over the duration of the deal. The Raiders announced Alexander’s signing Monday but did not release contract details.

Alexander becomes the fourth LSU draftee to sign with his team. Deion Jones, a second-round pick, signed a four-year, $4.5 million contract with the Falcons. Jalen Mills, a seventh-round selection, signed a four-year, $2.4 million contract with the Eagles, according to PhillyVoice.com. Rashard Robinson, dismissed from LSU’s team after the 2014 season, signed with the San Francisco 49ers, according to a tweet from the team.

Jerald Hawkins, a fourth-round pick with the Steelers, has yet to sign. Several others have signed undrafted free agent deals, including linebacker Lamar Louis (Cardinals), tight end Dillon Gordon (Eagles) and snapper Reid Ferguson (Bills).

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Spring Review: SEC East

(boneheadpicks.com)

(boneheadpicks.com)

This is Part 2 of a two-part series Spring Review series. Part 1, published Monday, is on the SEC West.

TENNESSEE

Big Story: Meet the “Orange Swarm.” That’s the name new UT defensive coordinator Bob Shoop gave to his unit during a Knoxville radio interview earlier this week. “Nobody will run on the ‘Orange Swarm,’” said Shoop, formerly of Penn State and Vanderbilt. Shoop takes the reigns after the Vols and Jon Jancek split. Shoop only installed a small percentage of his D in the spring, implementing a package each week.

Side story: Eleven Vols were sidelined during spring practice because of injury, but that was a small part of this program’s off-the-field spring. Tennessee’s athletic program was the subject of a sweeping federal lawsuit regarding sexual assaults. And coach Butch Jones found himself embroiled in a Twitter war with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.

Rising Star: WR Preston Williams. The five star talent caught seven passes in 2015 as a true freshman despite missing four games with injury. He finished a strong spring with a team-leading three catches for 77 yards in the spring game, proving to be a deep threat.

Eagerly Awaiting: DE Jonathan Kongbo. The No. 1-ranked junior college DE last year promised this spring that the Vols would go undefeated this coming season.

Kickoff: vs. Appalachian State, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: DNP


MISSOURI

Barry Odom, right, took over for Gary Pinkel, left. (AP)

Barry Odom, right, took over for Gary Pinkel, left. (AP)

Big Story: For the first time since 2001, Gary Pinkel did not run a spring at Missouri, giving way to new head man Barry Odom, a Missouri grad and ex-Memphis DC. The Tigers had a new starting QB this spring, too. Drew Lock took over for dismissed QB Maty Mauk. Lock started eight games as a true freshman last season in place of the shaky Mauk, and he’s now learning under ex-Oklahoma QB Josh Heupel, the Tigers’ OC.

Side story: Missouri lost a whopping four offensive linemen to injury during spring, leaving them with eight healthy scholarship bodies for the spring game. Overall, depth seems to be an issue there. Incoming freshmen Tre’Vour Simms and Trystan Castillo have been told to arrive ready to compete immediately.

Rising Star: DE Charles Harris. The redshirt junior earned second team all-SEC honors last year, finishing with seven sacks and 56 tackles. Odom’s phasing in of the 3-4 defense could accentuate some Harris’ strengths.

Eagerly Awaiting: RB Damarea Crockett. The Little Rock native and fifth-best prospect in Arkansas could help a Missouri RB group with little depth.

Kickoff: at West Virginia, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: Oct. 1, at Tiger Stadium


GEORGIA

Big Story: Two words – Nick Chubb. His status overshadowed coach Kirby Smart’s first spring as head coach. Chubb, a Heisman Trophy hopeful before a significant knee injury ended his season last in October, took carries in non-contact drills during spring. He rarely ran laterally, recovering from an injury that shook up the Heisman race. Sony Michel, the SEC’s third-leading returning rusher, took No. 1 live contact reps.

Side story: In off-the-field spring news, Georgia learned it’ll be down two key contributors on the defensive line for the season opener against North Carolina. Chauncey Rivers (second marijuana arrest) and Jonathan Ledbetter (underage possession of alcohol) are suspended for the game against the Tarheels.

Rising Star: WR Terry Godwin. New offensive coordinator Jim Chaney plans to use the 5-foot-11 sophomore all over the field – outside, slot, potentially in the backfield. Someone has to replace leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell.

Eagerly Awaiting: QB Jacob Eason. UGA isn’t awaiting anything, actually. The five-star Eason enrolled early, participated in spring and is the second/third option behind Greyson Lambert.

Kickoff: vs. North Carolina, Sept. 3 (Georgia Dome, Atlanta)

Vs. LSU: DNP


FLORIDA

Big Story: The Gators’ QB hopes rest on a pair of transfers – Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby. The two appear to be well ahead of guys like Feleipe Franks, the coveted, five-star rookie and long-time LSU commitment. Del Rio, the son of Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, is on his third school after stop at Alabama and Oregon State. He’s got the edge heading into preseason camp. Appleby played in 17 games at Purdue.

Luke Del Rio has the edge in the Gators' search for a QB. (USA Today)

Luke Del Rio has the edge in the Gators’ search for a QB. (USA Today)

Side story: A three-man running back competition unfolded during spring drills. Jordan Cronkite, Jordan Scarlett and 242-pound junior college transfer Mark Thompson are vying to replace 1,000-yard rusher Kelvin Taylor. Cronkite got most of the No. 1 reps.

Rising Star: PK Eddy Pineiro. The Gators hope the top-ranked JUCO kicker will help a 9-for-20 field goal mark last season. A video went viral of Pineiro making a 77-yard field goal during a practice. UF swiped Pineiro from Alabama, where he was committed.

Eagerly Awaiting: WR Tyrie Cleveland. The 6-3, 190-pound Texan was ranked as the second-best receiver nationally in the 2016 recruiting class.

Kickoff: vs. Massachusetts, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: Oct. 8, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Gainesville, Florida)


SOUTH CAROLINA

Big Story: South Carolina started spring with five QBs. The Gamecocks ended spring with three healthy QBs. Lorenzo Nunez and Perry Orth, two of three QBs to play last season, had their spring cut short because of injury. Brandon McIlwain grabbed the edge over Connor Mitch, a partial starter last season, and Michael Scarnecchia. McIlwain, a dual-threat and dual sport star (baseball), enrolled in January.

Side story: Will Muschamp made at least one thing abundantly clear during spring practice – South Carolina’s secondary needs improving. The coach didn’t feel comfortable in spring playing his cornerbacks in press-coverage, a staple of his system.

Rising Star: WR Bryan Edwards. The four star signee enrolled early in January and made an immediate impact in a Carolina receiver corps that lost all-SEC WR Pharoh Cooper. The 6-3, 200-pound Edwards caught two touchdowns in the spring game.

Eagerly Awaiting: CB Jamarcus King. The Kansas product was ranked as the No. 1 cornerback in the 2016 class.

Kickoff: at Vanderbilt, Sept. 1

Vs. LSU: DNP


 

Kentucky 

Mark Stoops heads into a pivotal Year 4 in Lexington. (AP)

Mark Stoops heads into a pivotal Year 4 in Lexington. (AP)

Big Story: The Wildcats have to overcome the power fade. Remember in 2014 when UK came to LSU with a 5-1 record? The Tigers crushed the Wildcats 41-3, the start of their 0-6 finish. Last season, UK started 4-1 but ended up 1-6, both years seeing bowl hopes snatched away by archrival Louisville. This looks like another five- to seven-win team. Figuring out how to squeeze out a couple more wins is a must.

Side story: After going 12-24 in three seasons, the honeymoon is definitely over for UK coach Mark Stoops. To his credit, he knows it: “We’re moving into year four and we should be better.” Part of getting better meant firing offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and replacing him with co-coordinators Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw.

Rising Star: QB Drew Barker. Patrick Towles transferred to Boston College, leaving the job to Barker, who attempted 70 passes last season. The talent around him is experienced, led by receiver Dorian Baker (55 catches, 608 yards) and tailback Stanley “Boom” Williams (855 yards).

Eagerly Awaiting: OT Landon Young. A four-star prospect, Young didn’t enroll for spring football but could still challenge for a starting spot on a line that gave up 30 sacks in 2015.

Kickoff: vs. Southern Miss, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: DNP


 

VANDERBILT

Big Story: The Commodores own one of the SEC’s best defenses, allowing just 350.5 yards and 21.0 points per game last season despite an offense that ranked 116th nationally in yards and 123rd in points per game. The key will be getting that defense off the field with an improved offense. Kyle Shurmur, son of former Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur, started five of last six games in 2015 and appears to have held off his challengers. For now.

Side story: After the success it had under former coach James Franklin, Vanderbilt now expects results in football. Positive results. Vandy’s first year under Derek Mason (3-9, 0-8 SEC) was abysmal, but last year showed some promise. With a few breaks, these Commodores could be back in their first bowl since 2013.

Rising Star: LB Zach Cunningham. Vanderbilt should have one of the SEC’s top linebacker tandems with Cunningham and Nigel Bowden. Cunningham led the Commodores with 103 tackles including 4.5 sacks in 2015 and is a legitimate All-SEC candidate in his junior campaign.

Eagerly Awaiting: DB Joejuan Williams. Recruiting is challenging for Vandy, but the Commodores kept the four-star Williams, Tennessee’s second-ranked prospect, at home.

Kickoff: vs. South Carolina, Sept. 1

Vs. LSU: DNP

Spring Review: SEC West

(boneheadpicks.com)

(boneheadpicks.com)

This is Part 1 of a two-part Spring Review series. On Tuesday, we’ll post spring reviews for the SEC East.

LSU

Big Story: For once, LSU’s top storyline during spring wasn’t quarterbacks. Well, maybe it was, but we chose to focus on new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s defensive overhaul. He’s installing the 3-4, moving players like safety Corey Thompson to outside linebacker, end Tashawn Bower to OLB and tackle Davon Godchaux to nose tackle. A busy summer awaits. Aranda only installed three packages during spring.

Leonard Fournette signs autographs after LSU's student day at spring practice. (Patrick Dennis)

Leonard Fournette signs autographs after LSU’s student day at spring practice. (Patrick Dennis)

Side Story: It’s the quarterbacks, of course. For the first time since 2013, LSU will have an upperclassman starting at QB (presumably Brandon Harris). Coaches believe a more mature Harris is ready to improve on last year’s completion percentage of 53.8 and 180-yard average, but Purdue transfer Danny Etling is waiting if Harris falters.

Rising Star: OLB/DE Arden Key. This rangy sophomore will only get better in his new spot, coaches and players say. He’s shifted into a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker role in the 3-4, standing up at the snap. As a rookie, he led the team in QB hurries (9).

Eagerly Awaiting: DT Rashard Lawrence. The Monroe native is one of two five-star signees. He’s a 305-pound versatile talent who could play at several spots on the line.

Kickoff: vs. Wisconsin (at Lambeau Field), Sept. 3


MISSISSIPPI STATE

Big Story: Coach-turned-broadcaster Jon Gruden called Dak Prescott the best dual-threat QB in the 2016 draft. That’s the guy Mississippi State must replace. The two leaders after spring appear to be redshirt sophomore Nick Fitzgerald, a triple-option high school QB, and junior Damian Williams, a Metairie native and 2015’s backup to Prescott. A preseason camp battle is expected to unfold between the two.

Dak Prescott is done giving LSU trouble. (Bill Feig)

Dak Prescott is done giving LSU trouble. (Bill Feig)

Side story: Just like LSU, a new defensive coordinator installed his new 3-4 defense during spring practice. Peter Sirmon replaced Manny Diaz after he left for Miami, and he’s overhauling State’s D into a 3-4, equipped with a Viper position (a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker that Will Coleman is expected to man).

Rising Star: DT Nick James. Somebody has to replace the 6-6, 300-pound Chris Jones, the 37th pick in the draft. James, a top 10 defensive tackle out of Long Beach, Mississippi, appears ready as a redshirt junior.

Eagerly Awaiting: DE Jeffery Simmons. The five-star prospect’s future is uncertain after an arrest on simple assault charges in March, but he’s talented (No. 3 strong-side DE).

Kickoff: vs. South Alabama, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: Sept. 17 at Tiger Stadium


OLE MISS

Big Story: Much of Ole Miss’ spring was spent trying to figure out who will start where on an offensive line that returns just four starters. No loss is bigger than Laremy Tunsil’s departure at left tackle. Redshirt freshman Alex Givens and senior Jeremy Liggins, the ex-LSU QB signee-turned-lineman, worked there. Junior Roderick Taylor, backup left tackle last year, is a wild card. He was arrested this spring and charged with shoplifting.

Side story: Senior Chad Kelly is the Rebels’ starting quarterback in 2016, but Ole Miss got a glimpse of its potential starter in 2017 this spring. Kelly missed the latter half of spring after having sports hernia surgery. True freshman Shea Patterson, a five star signee, and redshirt freshman Jason Pellerin battled in a preview to next spring.

Rising Star: DE Marquis Haynes. Some might say Hayes has already risen, but he was overshadowed by tackle Robert Nkemdiche. Haynes led the team last year with 10 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. The junior is a potential high-round draft pick.

Eagerly Awaiting: OL Greg Little. The No. 1-ranked offensive tackle in the nation arrives this summer. The Texas native is expected to compete on the line immediately.

Kickoff: at Florida State, Sept. 5

Vs. LSU: Oct. 22 at Tiger Stadium


ARKANSAS

Bret  Bielema has beat LSU and Les Miles the last two years. (Bill Feig)

Bret Bielema has beat LSU and Les Miles the last two years. (Bill Feig)

Big Story: Alex Collins – his 1,577 yards and 20 touchdowns – are gone. It’s up to senior Kody Walker and sophomore Rawleigh Williams to fill the void. Walker, 394 yards last season, missed the second half of spring after breaking his foot. Williams did not face any contact in the spring because of a neck injury he suffered last season. As summer workouts crank up in Fayetteville, the running back position is most uncertain.

Side story: The quarterback name on the back of the jersey will be the same, “Allen,” but the quarterback is Austin Allen, brother to former Hogs starter Brandon Allen. Austin’s only thrown 19 passes during his college career, but easily won the starting quarterback job during spring practice – a good sign for Razorback fans.

Rising Star: DE McTelvin Agim. The Hope, Arkansas, native is the first consensus five star product to sign with the Hogs since 2009. He enrolled in January and participated in spring practice, already a projected rotating player at defensive end.

Eagerly Awaiting: RB Devwah Whaley. The third-ranked running back in the 2016 class should add much-needed depth to a critical position.

Kickoff: vs. Louisiana Tech, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: Nov. 12, at Razorback Stadium (Fayetteville, Arkansas)


TEXAS A&M

Big Story: Preseason camp is normally the time for raging quarterback battles and dramatic starting QB announcements. A&M coach Kevin Sumlin took care of things during spring practice. He named Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight the starter following Knight’s spring competition with Jake Hubenak. Knight will run new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone’s tempo-centric offense.

Side story: A&M’s linebackers are a work in progress, and their best one, sophomore Richard Moore, missed spring with injury. The Aggies allowed 213 rushing yards a game last season, 108th nationally, stunning for a John Chavis unit. Another sophomore, Otaro Alaka, made strides in spring, and JUCO transfer Claude George is expected to help.

Rising Star: WR/PR Christian Kirk. As a freshman last year, Kirk led the team in receptions (80), yards (1,009) and TDs (7), and he returned two of 14 punts for touchdowns, averaging more than 24 yards a return.

Eagerly Awaiting: DE Justin Madubuike. A top-50 player nationally and the 5th-ranked DE in the class, Madubuike spurned offers from Auburn, Bama, Ohio State and Florida.

Kickoff: vs. UCLA, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: Nov. 24, at Kyle Field (College Station, Texas)


ALABAMA

Big Story: Losing Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry is bad enough, but the Tide also lost his speedy counterpart, Kenyan Drake. Naturally, the running back situation took center stage during drills, especially when sophomore running back Ronnie Clark tore his Achilles tendon midway through spring. He’s out for the season. The depth behind Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris includes walk-ons and true freshmen.

Cooper Bateman, here during Bama's spring game, has the lead in the QB race. (AP)

Cooper Bateman, here during Bama’s spring game, has the lead in the QB race. (AP)

Side story: QB Cooper Bateman appears to have the edge in what seems to be a three-way battle to replace Jake Coker. Bateman’s spring resembled that of Coker last year and starter Blake Sims the year before. He didn’t do anything to lose the edge he’s got over redshirt freshman Blake Barnett and sophomore David Cornwell.

Rising Star: DE Da’Shawn Hand. Hand, the nation’s No. 1 strong-side DE in the 2014 recruiting class, worked on the first string during spring. A’Shawn Robinson and Jerran Reed’s departures have opened the door for the 6-4, 280-pounder fro Virginia.

Eagerly Awaiting: WR Gehrig Dieter. The Bowling Green graduate transfer will arrive this summer. He caught 94 passes for 1,033 yards and 10 TD as a junior last year.

Kickoff: vs. Southern California, Sept. 3 (Arlington, Texas)

Vs. LSU: Nov. 5, at Tiger Stadium


AUBURN

Big Story: Maybe the most wide open quarterback race in the SEC unfolded on the Plains this spring. Junior college transfer John Franklin battled Jeremy Johnson and Sean White, a pair of QBs who rotated during Auburn’s disappointing 7-6 season in 2015. The result: a tossup. Many think Franklin – all 6-1, 174 pounds of him – has the edge. He was the most accurate of the group in the spring game, completing 7 of 11 attempts.

Side story: AU’s defense held its counterpart to a 1-for-22 third-down clip during the spring game. That’s probably more of a critique on Gus Malzahn’s offense, but don’t sleep on this D. The Tigers’ D-line lost zero guys from last year’s two-deep depth chart.

Rising Star: DB Carlton Davis. An SEC all-freshman honoree last season, Davis rolled up 56 tackles and picked off three passes as a rookie. The Miami native’s three picks were the most of any freshman in the league.

Eagerly Awaiting: DT Derrick Brown. This five star from Georgia is ranked as the fourth-best defensive tackle in the 2016 class.

Kickoff: vs. Clemson, Sept. 3

Vs. LSU: Sept. 24, at Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn, Alabama)


 

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Ex-LSU LB Deion Jones signs four-year, $4.5M contract with Falcons

Deion Jones, his father Cal to his left, gets the call from the Atlanta Falcons notifying him that they plan to draft him with the next pick.

Deion Jones, his father Cal to his left, gets the call from the Atlanta Falcons notifying him that they plan to draft him with the next pick.

Cal Jones won’t be driving cabs anymore.

Former LSU linebacker and Jesuit star Deion Jones signed a four-year, $4.5 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons, he confirmed to The Advocate. Jones’ signing bonus was expected to be for about $1.5 million, according to overthecap.com.

Jones’ father, Cal, drove a taxi cab in New Orleans for more than a decade, and his mother, Tahonas, is a restaurant manager at Subway.

Jones becomes the second of five LSU drafted players to sign a deal with his team. Defensive back Jalen Mills, a second-round pick, signed a four-year, $2.4 million contract with the Eagles, according to PhillyVoice.com.

Jalen Mills signed his deal Wednesday. (BRIANNA PACIORKA)

Jalen Mills signed his deal Wednesday. (BRIANNA PACIORKA)

Atlanta selected Jones with the 52nd overall pick and 21st pick in the second round, sending family and friends into an outburst at a watch part in Harvey. A three-year reserve and special teams star, Jones only moved into a starting role as a senior last year. His stock climbed over the last four months, including an impressive showing at the senior bowl, a solid NFL combine and an LSU pro day in which he ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash.

Three drafted LSU players have not yet signed: offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins (fourth round, Steelers), defensive back Rashard Robinson (fourth round, 49ers) and offensive lineman Vadal Alexander (seventh round, Raiders).

Several others have signed undrafted free agent deals, including linebacker Lamar Louis (Cardinals), tight end Dillon Gordon (Eagles) and snapper Reid Ferguson (Bills).

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LSU set for satellite camps in New Orleans, Shreveport, including a joint venture with Saints

Les Miles and LSU are scheduled to host satellite camps in New Orleans and Shreveport. (Bill Feig)

Les Miles and LSU are scheduled to host satellite camps in New Orleans and Shreveport. (Bill Feig)

LSU will host satellite camps in both New Orleans and Shreveport, including a joint camp with the Saints in the Crescent City, coach Les Miles said Wednesday.

“First thing we want to do is maintain our presence in the state of Louisiana,” Miles said on the Southeastern Conference’s spring football teleconference. “We turn to the north and turn to the south (of the state) and say, ‘When we can, we’re going to come to you.’”

The Advocate reported Monday that LSU was expected to host satellite camps in New Orleans and/or Shreveport, and 247Sports reported Tuesday that the Tigers were also joining several others schools in attending camps in Houston, Detroit, Atlanta and Tampa.

LSU was prepared to host satellite camps in Dallas, Houston, Detroit and Atlanta, Miles said earlier this spring after the NCAA banned the camps. The governing body repealed the ban last week, and, starting May 30, SEC teams – like its brethren in the Big Ten – can host camps outside of their own campus.

LSU will have two camps in New Orleans, Miles said – a youth clinic and a camp for high school age prospects. The Saints will participate in the high school camp, the coach said.

Miles did not reveal details on LSU’s camp in Shreveport. The program attempted to host spring scrimmages or practices in New Orleans and Shreveport this year, but the SEC has a rule against teams holding spring football events away from their campus.

The program is in the final stages of finalizing satellite camp plans, Miles said.

“The first thing we wanted to do is service the football community in this state,”  Miles said.

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Report: LSU staff bound for Houston, Tampa, Atlanta and Detroit summer camps

The Sound Mind Sound Body Academy's camps include classroom portions. (SMSB website)

The Sound Mind Sound Body Academy’s camps include classroom portions. (SMSB website)

LSU continues to finalize plans for satellite camps, but a national recruiting outlet is reporting a handful of stops for the Tigers.

LSU coach Les Miles and his staff will spend June 6-12 at four different two-day camps in Atlanta, Houston, Tampa and Detroit,  part of the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy summer tour, according to 247Sports. The Tigers will join other college football staffs at each stop, including as many as 60 at the showcase in Detroit.

The Advocate reported on Monday that LSU is expected to host at least one in-state camp in New Orleans and/or Shreveport. LSU was prepared to host satellite camps in Dallas, Houston, Detroit and Atlanta, Miles said earlier this spring after the NCAA banned the camps.

Les Miles and LSU are finalizing their camp plans.

Les Miles and LSU are finalizing their camp plans.

The governing body repealed the ban last week, and, starting May 30, SEC teams – like its brethren in the Big Ten – can host camps outside of their own campus. Teams are allowed to have full control of in-state camps, but must partner with others for out-of-state events – like the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy’s summer showcases.

The school has not announced its camp trips, and a source told The Advocate on Wednesday that the program is finalizing its plans.

Sound Mind Sound Body is a Detroit-based organization that started in 2004 with a goal of increasing the number football players graduating high school and earning college scholarships in the metro Detroit area. The academy now hosts summer camps throughout the nation, including six this year in Atlanta (June 3-4, Greater Atlanta Christian School), Houston (June 6-7, Hall Stadium), Detroit (June 9-10, Wayne State University), Tampa (June 12 , Jefferson High School), Los Angeles (June 16-17, Pioneer High School) and Washington, D.C. (Jun 23-24, Paint Branch High School).

Sound Mind Sound Body campers get on-the-field training and perform in front of college coaches. (SMSB website)

Sound Mind Sound Body campers get on-the-field training and perform in front of college coaches. (SMSB website)

The camps are geared for a two-prong effect for some of the nation’s most highly touted prospects: on-the-field training and off-the-field instruction. The camps offer life skills and positional “chalk talk” classes, while also teaching prospects on-the-field techniques to “get the most out of an athlete’s ability,” the Sound Mind Sound Body website says.

Coaches are allowed to watch prospects showcase their skills during the on-the-field portions of the camp, and some, even, are scheduled to speak with prospects during the classroom portion of the events.

Miles will speak to prospects at the camps in Houston and Atlanta, 247Sports reported. He won’t be alone. For example, the Houston camp will feature Texas coach Charlie Strong and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.

Others committed to being there are Arizona, Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, Houston Baptist, Iowa State, Lamar, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan State, Nebraska Oregon, Prairie View, Sam Houston, SMU, TCU, Texas Southern, Texas State, Tulsa, UCLA, Texas-San Antonio and Wisconsin.

The camps are open to players entering 9th to 12th grade, and the cost is contingent on the player’s age. Those entering 9th-grade pay $50. Sophomores, juniors and seniors pay $90. Camps also accept high school graduates, as well as post-graduates with remaining NCAA eligibility.

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LSU gets commitment from St. James dual-threat QB Lowell Narcisse

St. James quarterback Lowell Narcisse get outside of Lutcher's Thaddeus Watis during the Class 3A championship game in December. (SCOTT THRELKELD)

St. James quarterback Lowell Narcisse get outside of Lutcher’s Thaddeus Watis during the Class 3A championship game in December. (SCOTT THRELKELD)

LSU has landed two quarterback commitments for the 2017 class in less than 10 days.

St. James four-star rated QB Lowell Narcisse announced on his Twitter account Monday that he’s committed to the Tigers.

https://twitter.com/JrJr238/status/727194067595993088

“I’ve decided to stay home and play for my home state,” he wrote in the post. He is not doing interviews until the conclusion of St. James’ spring practice.

Narcisse, a one-time Auburn commitment, is the fifth-best dual-threat quarterback in the 2017 group, according to 247Sports.com. He joins St. Stanislaus quarterback Myles Brennan as playcallers in LSU’s 2017 class. Brennan committed on April 23.

Narcisse had offers from Alabama, Clemson, Arizona State and North Carolina. He de-committed from Auburn in January and has visited LSU, unofficially, several times over the last three months.

The Tigers’ 2017 commitment class now stands at seven members and is ranked 22nd nationally, according to 247Sports. Three of the seven are QBs, including Lutcher dual-threat QB Jontre Kirklin, who’s might move position upon his arrival in Baton Rouge.

LSU is expected to have four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster this fall: presumed starter and junior Brandon Harris, junior transfer Danny Etling, redshirt freshman Justin McMillan and signee Lindsey Scott of Zachary.

Narcisse played just four games of his junior season last year, returning sooner than expected from a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in the spring. He helped the Wildcats in their run to the Class 3A state championship game.

As a sophomore in 2014, Narcisse passed for more than 3,000 yards, ran for 1,400 and accounted for 49 touchdowns. He scored 39 touchdowns as a freshman in 2013.

This post will be updated. 

LSU’s 2017 commitment class

  • RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Catholic (Baton Rouge)
  • QB Jontre Kirklin, Lutcher (Lutcher)
  • DT Tyler Shelvin, Northside (Lafayette)
  • OLB Patrick Queen, Livonia (Livonia)
  • QB Lowell Narcisse, Saint James (Saint James)
  • QB Myles Brennan, St. Stanislaus (Bay St. Louis, Mississippi)
  • OG Edward Ingram, DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas)

LSU’s 2018 commitment class

  • DB Kelvin Joseph, Scotlandville (Baton Rouge)
  • DB Corione Harris, Landry-Walker (New Orleans)
  • QB Zadock Dinkelmann, Somerset (Somerset, Texas)
  • WR Devonta Jason, Landry-Walker (New Orleans)

‘They take care of every LSU guy': LSU’s Lamar Louis signs free agent deal with Arizona Cardinals

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The Arizona Cardinals were the first to call former LSU linebacker Lamar Louis at the conclusion of the NFL draft on Saturday.

He verbally committed to them soon afterward.

Louis, a 5-foot-10, 222-pounder who went undrafted, plans to sign a free agent deal with the Cardinals, he confirmed Saturday evening. The Breaux Bridge native will participate in the Cardinals’ rookie mini-camp next weekend, he said.

“They really like me, and they were the first team to call me right after the last pick was made,” Louis said. “They take care of every LSU guy that’s there.”

Louis joins former LSU players-turned-Cardinals Kevin Minter, Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson. He’ll have a different role than those guys.

Louis, a weak-side linebacker who played sparingly at LSU as a senior last year but starred on special teams, was the No. 1 special teams player on the Cardinals board, he said. It made his decision an easy one.

“I talked to the special teams coach,” Louis said. “They believe in me, regardless of my height or my measurables.”

Louis said earlier this week that he had free agent offers from about a dozen teams, including the New Orleans Saints as a running back/fullback.

Louis has agreed to a deal with the Cardinals worth three years, he said. It includes a guaranteed money figure that he did not wish to reveal.

Snapper Reid Ferguson set to join Bills

Reid Ferguson, a four-year starter as LSU’s long snapper, agreed to a deal with the Buffalo Bills, he tweeted on Saturday.

Ferguson conducted private workouts with five NFL teams, and about 10 others showed interest in him, he said earlier this week. 

TE Dillon Gordon suggests he’s heading to Eagles

Former LSU tight end Dillon Gordon posted a photo of Philadelphia’s Eagle mascot on his Twitter account Saturday night, suggesting the 310-pounder is heading to Philly.

Gordon served as the Tigers’ run-blocking tight end, starting a combined 25 games as a sophomore and junior. He played in just three games as a senior last season after tearing his Achilles tendon.

The NCAA denied his request for a fifth-year of eligibility.

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Vadal Alexander

LSU offensive lineman Vadal Alexander taken by Oakland Raiders in seventh round of NFL Draft

Vadal Alexander had to wait a little longer than expected to hear his name called.

Projected by some as a second-to-third round draft pick, the former LSU offensive lineman went to the Oakland Raiders as the 234th overall pick in the seventth round Saturday.  He was the fifth Tiger taken this year, following linebacker Deion Jones, fellow offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins and cornerbacks Rashard Robinson and Jalen Mills, who was selected one pick before Alexander.

Alexander concluded his four-year stint in Baton Rouge by earning first team All-Southeastern Conference honors at right tackle. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman made 46 starts, splitting time at both guard and tackle.

Despite Alexander’s experience at tackle, scouts believe the native of Buford, Georgia, fits best at guard because of his size and run-blocking ability. CBSSports.com projected Alexander as the fourth-best guard prospect in this year’s draft, but he was the 14th player at that position picked.

“If Oakland uses him properly, he’s got a shot,” ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said during the broadcast.

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